The magical ride of the girls hockey team came to a heartbreaking end in Canton last Friday as the Vineyarders lost 4-3 to the higher-seeded Norwood Mustangs in the second round of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament.
The Vineyarders — who qualified for the state tournament for the first time in the team’s history this year — came back to tie the game on three different occasions against the heavily favored Mustangs.
After tying the game 3-3 in the third period, the 13th-seeded Vineyarders were less than a minute away from forcing overtime against 4th-seeded Norwood. But Emily Kelly, who scored two goals in the game, scored on a breakaway goal with 52 seconds left to seal the win for the Mustangs.
The Vineyarders trailed 1-0 after one period, but tied things up in the second on a goal from Aubrey Ashmun, with an assist from Kassidy Bettencourt. The Mustangs then took back the lead, but the scrappy Vineyarders tied things at 2-2, on a goal by Celia Mercier with an assist from Ashmun.
The Mustangs got a penalty shot in the third period when the Vineyarders were called for tripping. They made the most of it, scoring to take a 3-2 lead. The Vineyaders then scored on a goal by Celia Mercier with assists from Sydney Davies and Olivia Cimeno, to tie the game yet again at 3-3.
The Mustangs outshot the Vineyarders 23-18 in the game.
Coach John Fiorito said after the tough loss that his team had every reason to hold their heads high. “I think we showed we can skate with the better teams,” he said. “We played so great today against a very good team.
“It’s a tough loss, but I hope the players after some time realize what a great season and how well they played. The team should be proud, especially the six seniors on this team: it was a tremendous season and a great ride.”
For the first time in Island history, all four high school winter sports teams qualified for the state tournament.
The girls and boys hockey teams have now been eliminated, while the boys and girls basketball teams play on.